Dr. F. Bailey Norwood
The winner of the Medal for Excellence in Teaching at a Research University is F. Bailey Norwood, a professor of agribusiness at Oklahoma State University. Norwood’s passion for economics and teaching were inspired by a college professor, his “Socrates,” who gave him a thirst for learning. “I am living testimony to the importance of a remarkable instructor,” he said. Now, Norwood himself is inspiring future generations as an engaging professor, mentor and community volunteer.
“Dr. Norwood brings challenging topics to life in a way that resonates with students, enhancing their capability for life-long learning,” said colleague Kellie Curry Raper. “He gives students that one class that provides them with the fondest of memories, where the instructor did things no other instructor dared, and where the instructor stepped up to meet the challenge of short attention spans. He makes students take agricultural economics seriously by inspiring them to see all that it has to offer the world.”
Norwood goes to great lengths to learn all his students’ names early in the semester and holds a “Meet Your Classmates” activity to build relationships. He infuses his courses with humor and provides opportunities for students to “get their hands dirty” and learn things they know they will be need in their careers.
In his popular Farm to Fork course, Norwood presents the science and economics behind agricultural production and marketing decisions, as well as touching on controversial issues like food insecurity. As part of the course, students help manage a garden at a local food pantry to provide produce for neighbors in need. In Norwood’s Quantitative Methods course, students gather at the baseball field to hit three balls as far as they can and then collect data to determine why someone would hit further than others. The exercise helps students understand statistical concepts used to forecast crop yields and other agricultural applications. In his courses, Norwood has even dressed in character as historical figures to help bring complex economics concepts to life.
“Dr. Norwood is the teacher you never forget,” said student Jaci Deitrick. “He made each of his students excited to come to class and tackle difficult subjects like economics and supply chain management. While the material was not easy, Dr. Norwood made it easy to understand and taught us how to apply textbook formulas and definitions to real world applications.”